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How to Write a Follow-up Email After No Response (5 Examples)

24 min read
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Most marketers and salespeople these days assume that if their email has not received a response, it is safe to assume that the prospect is uninterested. 

What they do instead is move on to new prospects, completely forgoing the opportunity of using follow-up emails to nudge the prospect towards their product/service. 

On average, only 2% of sales are made from the initial point of contact (there should be roughly around 8 touchpoints before making a sale). This means that they are missing out on 98% of successful deals because they are not following up. 

There could be so many reasons why your prospects did not reply to your email. Perhaps they were busy, their inboxes were cluttered, they didn’t require your services at the time or they simply missed your email. 

As a salesperson/marketer, your job is to propel prospects into actualizing the need for your product/service. Don’t give up so easily! 

In fact, several studies have shown follow-ups improve response rates. One such study conducted by Iko System revealed that they saw an 18% response rate for the first email and 13% for the fourth one. To their surprise, the sixth email in the cycle saw a huge response rate of 27%! The graph below visualizes their findings. 

Another study by Backlink.io found that emailing the same prospect multiple times can lead to 2x more responses. 

how to write a follow up email

What is a follow-up email? 

A follow-up email in a nutshell is a sequence of emails that are sent out after a significant point in the sales funnel in an effort to close a deal. 

Follow-up emails are effective because they:

  • Help in building gradual trust 
  • Increase conversion rates 
  • Filter your audience (helps you narrow down on legitimate leads) 
  • Are a source of future referrals 
  • Add value for the prospect with each interaction 
  • Builds your organization’s credibility
  • Sets you apart from your competitors

Why send follow-up emails?

The average business professional receives roughly 121 emails per day, making it easy for your email to get lost in the shuffle.

Most of your prospects prioritize emails from their co-workers, business partners, and clients. Responding to or opening a cold email from a business would be a secondary priority to them, thus revealing the importance of follow-up emails.

Follow-ups act as ‘gentle reminders’ in case your prospect missed or forgot to reply to your email. It is important to keep in mind that every follow-up email sent should provide value for the prospect. 

Below is an example of a follow-up email that showcases how the sender provided extra value for the prospect. 

Follow-up email example

How to write a follow-up email after no response?

So now that you understand the importance of follow-up emails, let’s discuss how you can craft the perfect one for your outreach campaign. 

There are two strategies you can choose for your follow-up email sequence. The first is a time-based sequence and the other is an intent-based sequence. 

A time-based sequence entails persistently emailing your prospects with at least 7-8 touchpoints with intervals in between. This strategy gives equal attention to all prospects on the list regardless of what stage they are at in their buyer’s journey. 

An intent-based sequence focuses on the prospects’ interest levels. This involves targeting prospects that are in the solution-searching stage of their buyer journey. One can easily determine this through ‘intent signals’.

These signals can be drawn from your initial outreach campaigns’ analytics – engagement metrics, reply rates, link clicks, open rates, or downloads. 

Intent-based sequences are more valuable as they can help you target customers. They are also more personalized in nature resulting in increased conversion rates.

Regardless of strategy, your follow-up emails should all follow one universal format to drive response rates. 

This is the ideal format for your follow-up emails: 

  1. Subject Line 
  2. Greeting
  3. Body 
  4. Closing (CTA) 
  5. Sign off/signature 

Now let’s walk you through the step-by-step process of how to write a perfect follow-up email that will help you elicit a favorable response and bring you closer to sealing the deal. Like any other task you take up, coming up with goals for your cold outreach follow-up campaign is a must.

Be crystal clear about your intentions and what you wish to accomplish through sending follow-up emails before you start working on one. 

6 steps to write a perfect follow-up email

Step 1: Determine The Objective & Communicate It To Your Prospect

Step 2: Craft A Clever Subject Line

Step 3: Provide Prospect With Context – Introductory Line

Step 4: Strengthen Your Value

Step 5: Add a Call-To-Action At The End

Step 6: Automate Your Follow-Up Sequence

Step 1: Determine The Objective Of Your Follow-Up Email and Communicate It To Your Prospect

follow up email to a busy person

Do not send an email if you don’t have a clear idea of your intent! 

Decide beforehand what exactly you wish to achieve with each and every specific follow-up email. The main goal is of course—to convert the prospect into a paying customer. However, that might not happen with the very first follow-up email you send out, you probably need to grease the wheels a little.

Your goal(s) could range from, getting a demo booked, having a prospect sign up for a free trial, getting a meeting schedule, closing a sale, etc. Think about the next step in the lead nurturing process that will bring the lead closer to the sales funnel. 

Whatever your goal may be, clearly communicate and mention it in the email. Try to be as specific as possible, this shows prospects that you are not wasting their time and they will understand why you want their attention—making it more likely for you to procure the information or response you want from them. 

For example, 

  • {{First_Name}}, if you are interested in my proposal I would love to demonstrate how you can use our product to your advantage. Schedule a free demo here: {{add link}}.
  • {{Your organization’s name}} just launched {{product name}} and it could make a huge difference in the way you {{how it will impact them}}.
  • {{product name}} could really help you [increase your sales by 10% this quarter]! I was wondering if you would be interested in trying it out for free. 

Your leads might be short on time, so beating around the bush might not help anyone. The email must focus on getting to this goal (or actionable) while being short and simple to follow. How do you write a follow-up email that’s concise? Here is the key — keep your sentences short, and remove all extra bloat (adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, etc.).

Step 2: Craft A Clever Subject Line

follow-up email subject line

Your subject line should be given more importance than the actual content of the email. After all, one of the first things your prospect lays their eyes on is the subject line. 

A study by Harvard Business Review found that 47% of all emails are discarded by recipients due to uninteresting subject lines! That is a huge percentage you cannot risk. 

Your subject line will determine the success or failure of your cold email campaign. Avoid using ‘spam triggering’ words that will set off the spam filter; relegating your emails to the spam or junk folder. 69% of email recipients mark emails as spam based on the subject line alone (so be extra careful when deciding upon your subject line).

Spam triggering words/phrases to avoid: 

  • Exclusive Deal
  • Hurry up 
  • Instant 
  • Once in a lifetime 
  • Take action 
  • Please read 
  • Urgent 
  • Pure profit 
  • 100% free 

There are three key rules to adopt while writing follow-up email subject lines:

  • Personalize wherever possible! 
  • Keep it short and to the point 
  • Include intriguing questions 

Optimize the length of your subject line, keep it at 9 words and 60 characters, and ensure it is readable for mobile users. Also, don’t forget to A/B test your subject lines to figure out what’s working for your audience. 

Pro Tip: Include a pretext header for all your emails to give the lead an extra boost to open your email. Your email preheader text should be around 40-130 characters long.

Ensure the length is suitable for both mobile and desktop use. Both your subject line and preheader text should complement each other i..e work together. Use it to build curiosity. 

Step 3: Provide Prospect With Context – Introductory Line

how to send follow up email to client

Remember how we previously mentioned that the average business professional receives around 121 emails per day? Because of this, email recipients will most likely not remember who you are; which is why it is important to include a personal connection, unique identifier, or common interest that will provide context to help them remember you. 

It is imperative that you help jog their memory with your opening line, perhaps by redirecting their attention to your previously sent email. Even if they are unable to remember you, they’re more likely to respond to someone that has contacted them before. 

Ensure your opening line provides clear context as to why you are following up—the last thing you want to do is confuse them. 

Below are a few examples of effective introductory lines (email openers) for you to use to provide context to your recipient: 

  • Hey {{First Name}}, I saw that you read my previous email. I was just wondering……
  • I am reaching out to you in regards to the email I sent a few days ago.
  • {{First Name}}, I just wanted to do a quick follow-up to see your thoughts about {{topic of email}}
  • Were you able to review my previous email?
  • I know you are probably busy at the moment, but I thought this might be beneficial for you. 
  • {{First Name}}, I haven’t heard back from you, but I am convinced {{topic of email}} will generate the results you are looking for.

Beyond this, ask and offer to solve any obstacles your prospect might be facing in moving forward towards closing. To make them open up to you better (by building trust and confidence), practice responding to your emails as quickly as possible. If there are obvious clarifications you sense you can help with, pre-empt those in this part of the email. 

Step 4: Strengthen Your Value

i just wanted to follow up with you on the email below

“Give value. Give value. Give value. And then ask for business.” – Gary Vee 

As an email recipient yourself, you understand the importance of valuable content. If you receive an email that adds no value to your life then you will most likely not bother with it. 

This is probably the number one reason your emails are not eliciting responses because they lack value. Do not send a follow-up email without adding in more value than you did previously, you have to demonstrate your worth. And remember to check your email deliverability with DMARC, which makes use of SPF flattening and/or DKIM identifiers to verify the authority of sending domains”. 

Sending ‘generic’ follow-up emails will not work in your favor either. The whole ‘touching base’ or ‘catching up’ strategy is antiquated and outdated, prospects require much more than that. Each interaction you have with them needs to provide value. Make it worth their while. 

Here are a few ways you can provide value to your prospect: 

  • Share customer testimonials/reviews (preferably from someone in the same industry/business as them) 
  • Solutions for specific pain points 
  • Blog posts 
  • Social proof
  • E-books
  • How-to guides/videos 
  • Case studies 
  • Webinar 
  • Attractive offers/discounts 
  • Extended free trial 

Whatever way you decide to add value, ensure it is relevant to them, it should be viewed as an asset to them. In order to open the lines of communication you need to incentivize your prospects, you need to push them to respond. 

Additionally, you can also ask them for their opinions about certain things, for example, you can ask your lead if the pricing doesn’t work for them? Or if your product/service is lacking a feature that they need? This will create a positive business relationship and will give you an insight into the mind of your prospect to better suit their needs.

Step 5: Add a Call-To-Action At The End

follow-up email

Your email needs to be easy to respond i.e. it needs to be actionable. And how exactly do you do that? You add a compelling Call-To-Action (CTA). Do not overlook your CTAs under any circumstances. 

A lot of follow-ups have a killer subject line and content, but their CTA is weak thus not prompting their desired action. 

Follow these quick tips for formulating a strong CTA: 

  • Avoid asking for a ‘big ask’ very early on in the follow-up cycle. Focus on establishing trust first. Give prospects a chance to get to know you better before they commit to a deal. Start with smaller requests such as, requesting a short meeting, sharing resources, etc.
  • Be as clear as possible, don’t leave any room for ambiguity. Avoid sounding vague, and be clear on the next steps you want your prospect to undertake. 
  • Don’t overdo it, and ask for too much. Your prospect does not want to be burdened. Instead, make your CTA (the request) easy and simple to which the prospect can either review or respond quickly. For example, Just reply by saying ‘yes’, if you would be interested in learning more about this then I will share additional information with you. 

Step 6: Automate Your Follow-Up Sequence

Manually sending out follow-up emails will be tough. Especially if you have to track them one by one, and see which prospect is actually worth focusing on. Instead, opt to use cold email automation tool that allow you to create automated follow-up cycles with various settings. 

I recommend using Saleshandy,  a cold email outreach software that has the feature of creating unique follow-up cycles. The software is equipped with features that will help you cut costs, save time massively and maximize follow-up success. 

Here are some of Saleshandy’s features that will aid in the success of your follow-up campaign:

  1. Automated Follow-Ups:
write follow-up email with no response

Create automated follow-up sequences (referred to as ‘Email Sequences’ in Saleshandy) using Saleshandy. You can select the number of days apart you want the emails to be sent out. You can set up multi-stage sequences as per your liking, all content can be tailored to each prospect.

2. Trigger Behavior-Based Actions:

Trigger Behavior-Based Actions

Set up your follow-up sequence based on trigger-based behavior actions to save time. You can select if the next email in the sequence should be sent to the prospect based on their interaction with the email received. Whether they read, opened, or replied to it, you can choose the action you want the next email in line to be triggered by. You can even select the time frame between the emails. 

3. Merge Tags:

Triggered based followups

With so many follow-up emails to send, it is impossible to personalize every single one of them. Thankfully, merge tags exist. Merge tags allow you to personalize your email content, by simply inserting them in the compose window. Merge tags work based on the CSV file you import onto Saleshandy, the custom field corresponding with the specific merge tag will reflect in the final email sent. Common merge tags include, {{first name}}, {{last name}}, {{city}}, {{company name}}, etc. Saleshandy allows up to 30 custom fields to be imported and used as merge tags. 

4. Time Zones:

time zone

Your prospects probably reside in different time zones. Follow-ups can be scheduled as per the time zone of your prospect to promote better open and response rates. 

5. A/B Testing:

New sequences

Will the email content you are sending resonate and work for every prospect? It probably won’t. This is exactly why you need A/B testing. Saleshandy allows you to add A and B variants for all the steps in your sequence, so you can see which content is performing better.

6. Inbox Warm-Up:

The inbox warm-up feature protects your domain reputation by ‘warming up’ your inbox through sending and engaging with emails from your email address. This improves your email deliverability helping you land in the primary inbox of your prospect eliminating the chance of your email being relegated to spam.

7. Advanced Email Analytics:

Email Analytics

Every stage of your follow-up sequence can be tracked providing you with detailed analytics. Make data-driven decisions and optimize your sequence by inferring your prospect’s interest level.

When to send a follow-up email?

Most experts recommend waiting two or three days before you send out your first follow-up email. Your waiting period between each email can then be gradually increased, depending on the number of follow-ups you plan on sending. 

Below is a chart that depicts the ideal follow-up sequence for 7 follow-up emails (ideally 7 touchpoints, including the first one is a good number to follow). In fact, marketing expert Dr. Jeffery Lant recommends that in order to penetrate a market, one must consistently reach a prospect at least 7 times.

Follow-up Sequence Example

follow-up email sequence example

Expert tips for follow-up emails to keep in mind

You now have more than enough effective tips and tricks to create a profitable cold email campaign. We have some more expert tips for you to supercharge your entire campaign, and accelerate the speed at which you achieve your goals! 

  • If possible, try to diversify your outreach. Try to create a multi-channel approach that includes, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, wherever they are the most active (this is especially beneficial if your prospects are not responding to your email). A recent survey found that organizations with a multi-channel mechanism in place saw a 9.5% yearly revenue growth. 
  • We are all aware that PERSONALIZATION is the glue that holds everything together when it comes to cold emailing. Try to personalize as much as you can. There are different varying degrees of personalization depending on the prospect so decide accordingly. 

You can mention their pain points, industry news, interests, competitors, etc. Another way to throw in some personalization is by personalizing offers and discounts exclusively for your prospects, for example, “We are offering you an exclusive 10% sign up discount”. 

Pro Tip: Personalize in human ways to connect directly with your leads. 

  • The content of your email should be short and to the point, try to keep it under 150 words. 
  • Yielding results from your follow-up campaign means being persistent (don’t overdo it, though). Create a follow-up sequence and leave enough time between the emails so you don’t appear overly pushy. 
  • For the best results, optimize your campaign as per the timezone of the prospect. Conduct an analysis of their most active hours to reach them at the right time.
  • If nothing is working, then find the email address of another person in the same organization. 

Follow-Up Email Examples

#1 The Quick Follow-Up (Redirecting their attention to the main email)

Subject line - 
{{First name}}, can I have your two minutes?

Email body - 
Hi there, {{First Name}}

I am quickly following up on an email I previously sent to you last week. I know you must be swamped with {{add personalization factor if possible}}. It would be great if you could review the email and revert to me at your earliest convenience. 

If you would like to discuss this further or have any questions you can directly reply to this email. 

Awaiting your response. 

Sincerely, 

{{Your Name}}

#2 Adding A Compliment and Providing Value

Subject line- 
I have a helpful resource for you, {{First name}} 

Email body - 
Greetings, {{First Name}}

I recently saw your post on LinkedIn on [SEO optimization] and found it to be very insightful. 

I came across some interesting posts on [SEO optimization] myself and thought of sharing them with you since this falls under your niche. 

[Link 1]
[Link 2]

I would love to further discuss how {{name of your product}} can help your organization achieve your [SEO optimization] goals for this year. 

Let’s schedule a short meeting to discuss this further. 

Best, 

{{Your Name}}

Note: The content you share with the prospect should be related to their pain points and the solution you are offering, it will resonate with them more than a random unrelated topic they are not interested in.

#3 Build FOMO (Fear of missing out)

Subject line - 
I don’t want you to miss out on this, {{First name}}

Email body -  
Hello, {{First Name}}

I sent you an email a few days ago about {{product/service}} and how your company could benefit greatly from it. 

Our existing clients in the same industry noted an upwards trend in their conversion rate at 10% after using our {{product/service}}. We provide a full product demonstration completely free of charge after you complete your sign-up. 

Your company too can achieve these numbers and more. 

If you want to learn more about this, I would be happy to discuss this further over a short meeting. 

Looking forward to your response. 

Best Regards, 

{{Your Name}}

#4 Recognize Their Curiosity

Subject line - 
I noticed something, {{First name}}

Email body -   
Hey there, {{First Name}} 

I noticed you recently opened my email that I sent two weeks ago and clicked on the links I shared in that email. I am yet to hear back from you. 

Are you interested in learning more about {{product/service}} and how it could benefit your organization?
I am constantly reaching out to prospects on a daily basis, and assumed you are interested in what we have to offer. 

If you want we can schedule a quick meeting to discuss any questions you may have about {{product/service}}. 

[Meeting Link]

Let me know how this sounds! 

Best, 

{{Your Name}}

Get here: 50+ Best Follow-Up Email Templates To Get Faster Replies!

#5 The Break-Up Email

Subject line - 
I think it is time to say goodbye! 

Email body -   
Hi there, {{First Name}}

Apologies for flooding your inbox! 

I assume you are not interested in {{topic}}. 

If you know someone else who could benefit from {{topic}}, please direct me to them. 

Thanks and let me know if I can be of any assistance in the future. 

PS - this will be my last email, don’t worry! :) 

Cheers, 

{{Your Name}}

FAQs 

1. How many follow-up emails should I send?

The ideal number of follow-up email you can send is 7 (including the initial email). As per the marketing experts, one should reach out at least 7 times to their prospects.

2. How often should you send follow-up emails?

A good practice is to wait for 2 or 3 days before sending your first email. If you continuously send follow-up emails, your prospects might get annoyed. Keep a healthy time interval first and gradually increase plan your sending schedule.     

3. How do I automate a follow-up email in Gmail/Outlook?
You can use Saleshandy to automate your follow-ups. You can create a complete follow-up sequence cycle based on different conditions. 

Conclusion 

Giving up hope after sending one sole email isn’t the right cold emailing strategy. One of the main principles of cold emailing is being persistent. Follow-up emails have the power to achieve high conversion rates, bring in new business, create strong business relationships, and close deals. 

Your job is to craft an email that recipients want to open and respond to. In order to achieve this, follow the above-mentioned tips and write your follow-up email to yield favorable results. Make your content attention-grabbing, relevant and of superior value for your recipients. 

A well-crafted email has four key ingredients, the right amount of personalization, value-based content, social proofing, and a clear CTA. If you include all four of these elements, you will start seeing results in no time. 

Good luck!

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